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Multi-currency World Account = simple life for corporates?

Multi-currency accounts have been available for ex-pats for many years, e.g. HSBC’s Current account is available in sterling, US dollar and euro, with Visa debit cards available in sterling or US dollar. Fintechs are developing multi-currency accounts for SMEs. The latest example is from WorldFirst - the money transfer specialist - who has launched World Account for UK corporate customers. 

World Account

WorldFirst claim the new account will assist businesses to access a range of international banking services that many SMEs trading overseas find impossible to access through traditional banks. Small or large businesses can quickly open multiple international currency accounts in GBP, EUR, USD and CAD free of charge. These accounts can be accessed and managed from a single platform or from their app.

World First believe that main advantages are that businesses will:

  • not be hit with “hidden fees to send international payments or receive funds from overseas.”
  • be able to hold balances in multiple currencies at the same time allowing them to manage their funds effectively to reduce foreign-exchange costs.

WorldFirst Co-founder and CEO, Jonathan Quin said, “Our clients continually tell us that they are frustrated at how slow, complicated and expensive international banking can be, especially the process of opening overseas accounts. Thankfully the wait is now over for a solution that meets their needs and will enable UK business to compete more effectively in the global economy.”

Additional functionality and more currency accounts including the Japanese yen, Australian dollar, Singapore dollar, New Zealand dollar and Hong Kong dollar will be supported over the coming months.

Corporate multi-currency accounts

Multi-currency accounts are being rolled out world-wide, e.g.:

  • TransferWise, a UK fintech, offer a Borderless multi-currency account covering 27 currencies, which “lets you avoid exchange rate movements and prep for future transfers.”
  • DBS Multi-Currency Account - “Pay like a local, overseas and online” offers access to 12 currencies and Singapore dollar.

CTMfile take: At the moment, the major banks have restricted multi-currency accounts to personal banking, but the fintechs see a real opportunity to offer these to SMEs. Will it ever make sense for the major banks to offer them to MNCs for irregularly traded currencies?  

This item appears in the following sections:
FX Management & Crypto
Buying & Selling FX
FX Settlement
International Bill Payments
International Payments

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By Paul Stheeman on 30th Oct 2017:

The idea to expand the use of multi-currency accounts to MNCs and to include further currencies is appealing, but the hurdles remain huge. From regulatory issues for individual currencies to each bank having sufficient currency liquidity, there are many topics which need to be dealt with before this can become reality.

By Jack Large on 30th Oct 2017:

But Paul, because there are issues, it doesn’t mean that banks (or fintechs) should not try. Transferwise got it right when they called their account: “Borderless”. This is exactly what is going to happen when we get a crypto global currency.
Regards, Jack

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